Instead of the vampire, he’d be the vampire slayer in this game! Countdown Vampires came out for the original Playstation during the major popularity of the true Resident Evil survival horror days. So reviewers at the time logically called it a Resident Evil rip off. It plays, looks, and feels much like classic “tank control” Resident Evil.
One way in which it isn’t a Resident Evil rip off is in the fact that Countdown Vampires is damn near impossible to complete without using a Gameshark. Remember those awesome days of cheat codes discs? How I miss them. See, the vampires in Countdown Vampires come in droves and you simply can’t get away from them. In Resident Evil, you could just run past the zombies if you didn’t have enough ammo or health. Here, you really have to take them out because they’re fast and very hungry for your blood.
While you want to just blow all the fuckers away, you run out of bullets very quickly. There’s another option: the dart gun. You can stun them with your dart gun then pour holy water on them to turn them human again, but there are so many of them and they are so aggressive that this option never seems to work out. See…if you don’t pour the water on them fast enough, they get back up. Now you’ve wasted a load of your darts.
And the only way to have the amount of health you need is to play fricking slot machines. Countdown Vampires takes place in a casino, so you get to gamble away your money in hopes that you’ll win a snack and not just waste all your money. Unfortunately, you’ll most often be throwing money away. Not to mention, who the frick feels like playing slot machines in the middle of a survival horror game while being swarmed by vamps?
There’s a better solution—pop in your Gameshark. Because, despite really crappy, boxy graphics (I mean, retro cool PS1 graphics), once you even the playing field with infinite ammo (yep, that’s evening the playing field in this game), you do get a fun Resident Evil experience. Okay, so the nonstop, cheesy soundtrack music and absurd noises the vamps kill the horror atmosphere somewhat, but the game does take you on one of those maze-like journeys through extensive locations, has plenty of puzzles to solve, and offers quite a variety of monsters; the first big green bugger you meet on a scaffolding above a stage definitely sets the tone for baddies that you wish would just devour the absurd, infuriating vampires. And you do get that dreaded feeling of being totally alone as you do in Resident Evil.
However, you’d probably never get to the end of the game without Gameshark, particularly because the fricking enemies respawn even if you kill them, making no ammo and no health a guarantee since you have to retread stomping grounds repeatedly. And even if you could make it through the game to the final bosses, you’d quit there. It takes forever to kill these bitches, and the fact that you have to do more than one is infuriating. See, you take on witches who are just circling around you and frying the fuck out of you with their magic. And if you don’t kill them all within five minutes, you have to fight ANOTHER boss, and he’s even worse. You’ll desperately want to defeat those witches before the time is up just to get the game over with. But at the same time, isn’t facing off against the true final boss the whole point of conquering a game???
You know it’s bad when you decide you don’t care if you never see the final boss….
Actually, in the end, there is a benefit to finishing the game—as long as you do it within 8 hours (WTF???). Doing so unlocks the “extended” edition of the game. When you play through a second time, you meet more characters and get more storyline. Is it really necessary to make a game that’s impossible to get through once without cheat codes and yet you don’t even get the full experience when you do so???
Yeah. So the game essentially sux, but by cheating, it is a fricking blast and totally brings back those happy feelings of the late 90s, playing survival horror games with those horrible pixelated characters that looked like they were moving and shimmering even when they were standing still. And I’ll tell you—our hero, homicide detective Keith J. Snyder, a shirtless hunk with tattoos and spiked hair, is pixilation perfect despite his graphical flaws. He looks like he’s modeled after David Boreanaz—you know, if Buffy’s Angel was buff.
If you’re looking to go old school survival horror but don’t want to play Resident Evil for the millionth time, get yourself a copy of Countdown Vampires and a Gameshark. I’m serious. Get the Gameshark. The fricking game should just come with one!